"'''John Brown's Body'''" (originally known as "'''John Brown's Song'''") is a United States March (music)|marching song
about the Abolitionism in the United States|abolitionist John Brown (abolitionist)|John Brown
. The song was popular in the Union (American Civil War)|Union
during the American Civil War
. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition of the American camp meeting#Music and Hymn Singing|camp meeting
movement of the late 18th and early 19th century. According to an 1890 The Battle Hymn of the Republic|account
, the original John Brown lyrics were a collective effort by a group of Union soldiers who were referring both to the famous John Brown and also, humorously, to a Sergeant John Brown of their own battalion. Various other authors have published additional verses and/or claimed credit for originating the John Brown lyrics and tune.
The "flavor of coarseness, possibly of irreverence"
[George Kimball, "Origin... ]